The 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles' Abbey Roadis out today (Friday).
Although released before Let it Be, it was recorded after the tumultuous sessions for that disc, making it their last studio album.
Paul McCartney talked about The Beatles approach to Abbey Road.
"I think before the Abbey Road sessions it was like, we should put down the boxing gloves and try and just get it together and really make a very special album."
Ringo Starr gave his thoughts on Abbey Road.
"I think everybody thought, well, let's go one more time. It's incredible that we got back to playing so well for the finale and then it ended. You know, I really love the idea that we didn't go out with some sort of crappy record. And in the end, the love you take... you know, you felt it was the last time."
Abbey Road is the band's most successful album, and it solidified George Harrison as a strong songwriter with his two contributions -- "Something," which was a double A-side with "Come Together," and "Here Comes the Sun," which he wrote in Eric Clapton's backyard. The album is also best known for the eight songs that make up the medley on Side Two.
The album’s 17 tracks are newly mixed by George Martin's son, producer Giles Martin, and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo, high-res stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, accompanied by 23 session recordings and demos, most of which are previously unreleased. It follows similar 50th anniversary reissues for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (White Album).
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe box contains 40 tracks – including “The Long One” Trial Edit & Mix for the album’s epic Side 2 medley – on three CDs (stereo) and one Blu-ray disc. Each disc comes in a slip-sleeved 12-by-12-inch 100-page hardbound book, which contains essays, rare and previously unpublished photos, including many taken by Linda McCartney; never before published images of handwritten lyrics, sketches, and a George Martin score; Beatles correspondence, recording sheets, tape boxes and reproduced original print ads.
There is also a vinyl box set, a deluxe two-CD set, and a single CD and single vinyl disc with the new stereo mix.
Released on September 26th, 1969 in the U.K. and October 1st in the U.S., Abbey Road held the number-one spot on the U.K. album chart for 17 weeks, and the Billboard chart for 11. It was inducted into the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame in 1995.
Abbey Road is also best known for its album cover that did not have The Beatles name, nor the album title on it -- that was on the back cover.
Showing the band walking across London's Abbey Road, it fueled the "Paul Is Dead" controversy as it was interpreted as Paul McCartney's funeral procession. It shows:
- Paul in an old suit and barefoot, which is how bodies were buried, and he's out of step with his bandmates.He is also holding a cigarette in his right hand, despite being left handed. This led to the rumor that the person on the cover was an imposter.
- The Volkswagen Beetle in the background has a "LMW 28-IF" license plate, which some believe stands for Linda McCartney is widowed, and Paul would've been 28 if he "lived."
- John Lennon is dressed in white, signifying a priest.
- Ringo Starr is in black, signifying an undertaker.
- George Harrison is in denim, so he was dubbed the gravedigger.
The album was originally going to be titled Everest after their recording engineer Geoff Emerick's favorite brand of cigarettes. It was then suggested that the band go to the Himalayas, where Mount Everest is located, but they declined. That's when Paul sketched out an idea that had them walking across the zebra crosswalk down the street from the studio.
Super Deluxe track listing:
CD ONE: 2019 Stereo Mix
- Come Together
- Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
- Oh! Darling
- Octopus’s Garden
- I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
- Here Comes the Sun
- You Never Give Me Your Money
- Sun King
- Mean Mr. Mustard
- Polythene Pam
- She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
- Golden Slumbers
- Carry That Weight
- The End
- Her Majesty
CD TWO: Sessions
- I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Trident Recording Session & Reduction Mix)
- Goodbye (Home Demo)
- Something (Studio Demo)
- The Ballad of John and Yoko (Take 7)
- Old Brown Shoe (Take 2)
- Oh! Darling (Take 4)
- Octopus’s Garden (Take 9)
- You Never Give Me Your Money (Take 36)
- Her Majesty (Takes 1–3)
- Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Takes 1–3 / Medley)
- Here Comes the Sun (Take 9)
- Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Take 12)
CD THREE: Sessions
- Come Together (Take 5)
- The End (Take 3)
- Come and Get It (Studio Demo)
- Sun King (Take 20)
- Mean Mr. Mustard (Take 20)
- Polythene Pam (Take 27)
- She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (Take 27)
- Because (Take 1 – Instrumental)
- The Long One (Trial Edit & Mix – 30 July 1969) (Medley: You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard, Her Majesty, Polythene Pam, She Came in Through the Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End)
- Something (Take 39 – Instrumental – Strings Only)
- Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (Take 17 – Instrumental – Strings & Brass Only)